ASUS Eee PC

 in
An easy-to-love, ultraportable PC.

The ASUS Eee PC is an extremely small, ultraportable notebook at the cheapest end of the market. At $399 US, it's supremely affordable. The entire industry has been buzzing around it, with Asus claiming that it was America's most popular Christmas gift.

When we arrived at the store to pick up our Eee to review, all the salespeople were busy. We looked near the laptops for it and couldn't see it—had the shipment been delayed?

We finally snared a salesperson to ask about the Eee and were led to the small electronics cabinet. There, nestled among the compact cameras and iPods, was one of the smallest laptops we'd ever seen. Its box was also diminutive. Inside the box is the Eee, manuals, CD, charger, neoprene sleeve and the Eee's battery. We appreciated the inclusion of the sleeve—most notebook bag and case makers have nothing for a machine this small.

First Impressions

Asthetically, the Eee looks like exactly what it is—a miniature laptop. Ours came in pearl white. It drew comments and admiring glances everywhere we took it—for both its extremely small size and smooth styling. The only aspect that mars its appearance is a large screen bezel. We feel the Eee would be vastly improved cosmetically if the screen filled even half that bezel. But, that's a minor issue in an otherwise very attractive notebook.

The Eee has a nice touchpad, although a little small. There is a single-width button that will execute a right-click if you press down on the right-hand side. We found this a little difficult to get used to, as it was hard to tell without looking exactly where you were about to click. The touchpad will scroll if one traces a finger down the far right—an extremely small target we found difficult to hit reliably. We've read a lot of reviews that seem displeased with the keyboard, and frankly, we just can't see why. The keyboard has an excellent feel to it, although again, it is extremely small. It took less than an hour to get used to touch-typing on it at quite a reasonable speed.

The screen is LED-backlit, making it extremely bright. Unfortunately, that's the only kind thing we can say about it. The contrast and colour is dreadful, and although the screen is a reasonable DPI, the resolution is just not high enough for Web browsing. Most sites these days are optimised for at least a 1024x768 resolution, and having a screen only 800 pixels wide made us scroll sideways fairly often to see whole pages.

Figure 1. Web browsing shows how cramped the Eee screen is.

The speakers are surprisingly good. Sure, the sound isn't studio-quality, but the volume can be maxed out without distortion, and the clarity is acceptable. With good headphones, sound is even better, although it did have a slightly muddy quality. The headphone socket is extremely clean with no discernible hiss even at high volumes. The internal microphone is adequate for voice chat, and plugging in a headset with an external microphone works exactly as you'd expect.

Connectivity is excellent with 10/100 Ethernet, 802.11b/g wireless and three USB ports. There's also an SD card slot on the left-hand side, and the card sits flush with the side of the laptop. It supports SDHC cards, which is a very viable option for expanding the onboard storage. There's also a VGA-out port that displays up to 1280x1024 on an external display with excellent acceleration. This feature alone makes the Eee far more worthwhile for serious use, as the mediocre internal display becomes an acceptable compromise—having a tiny device to carry around, but a reasonable screen resolution while at home.

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Razor Scooter Parts

Razor Scooter Parts's picture

I finally got an ASUS netbook. Thanks for the review!

Asus Eee PC laptop price is

Cartier Tank's picture

Asus Eee PC laptop price is quite reasonable to take the appropriate I think that would be my first choice

Good information

electric can openers's picture

this is interesting

Good information

electric can openers's picture

love the magazine

book

electric can openers's picture

nice magazine

electric can openers

electric can openers's picture

nice

laptop

electric can openers's picture

nice

laptop

electric can openers's picture

cool

laptop

electric can openers's picture

cool laptop

electric can openers

electric can openers's picture

that laptop is cool!

electric can openers

electric can openers's picture

that laptop is very cool!

KomikVideolarım

VideocuTurk's picture

According to these features the Asus Eee PC laptop price is quite reasonable to take the appropriate I think that would be my first choice

Good.Really..

cam mozaik's picture

Thanks a lot! I am just learning Information of Subject.
Php and this was very easy to follow and helped a lot.

Thanks..

Anonymous's picture

Thanks a lot! I am just learning Information.
Php and this was very easy to follow and helped a lot.
You really took time to explain every little bit.
cam mozaik
Thanks Again..

These little machines are

richewd's picture

These little machines are really cool for us techies, but don't believe they caught on too well with the general public.

Rich,
How to Make Your Computer Faster

ALthough this laptop looks

notebook computers's picture

ALthough this laptop looks cool i went for the samsung. Reasons being is that the hardrive on this model is too small for my liking. On another note good writeup though

Using Asus EE PC Too!

peter pan costume's picture

I just bought an Asus EE PC last October. The best thing is that it is very light and portable. Booting time is very fast too. The only bad thing is that the screen is quite small (but we buy it because of the small screen right?)

Web cam is pretty clear and it's better than my external webcam on the other laptop. I would still get this laptop again for the flexibility and light weight.

I was thinking about

best toaster's picture

I was thinking about purchasing this laptop, but hardrive size put me off. Instead i opted for samsung though. Great writup though, thanks for sharing

Small portable notebooks are

Online Kids Games's picture

Small portable notebooks are all the rage. We'll see what happens when apple launches their model.

Powering the modem seems to reduce the ...

Anonymous's picture

Powering the modem seems to reduce the battery life to about two and a half hours, but we still were impressed that the laptop and modem are less than 1kg to carry around. Battery life in general is a bit of a sore point. The Eee gets a little more than three hours in our testing, if it's on wireless, and we feel this just isn't really enough for an ultraportable.
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Club Penguin

I am using Asus EE PC with

jimmy99's picture

I am using Asus EE PC with new installed ubuntu, it works perfect.Thanks for the article

tnhx

film's picture

useful a writing. Always it's doing this linuxjournal ;)

Boot

davesnyd's picture

Did you time how long it takes to boot? Specifically, assume I'm walking into a coffee shop where I've never previously logged on to WIFI. How long does it take from clicking the "on" button to viewing www.linuxjournal.com on Firefox?

Also, when you say you were online with a 3G modem in five minutes, was that the first time only? Was it faster on subsequent uses?

You said the Skype as shipped doesn't include video chat-- were you able to upgrade to one that did?

Is Evolution available for this machine? Did you test how well it worked? No, I'm not a big fan-- but it is a useful tool for people who live in Exchange centric shops.

Do you have any sense for how physically rugged the unit is?

Thanks for the great review!

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